Packers Defense Lacking Competitive Talent

With videogame-like ease Dan Marino, err Kirk Cousins, patiently sat back and tossed deep passes over the Packers secondary to the tune of 375 yards and 3 touchdowns last Sunday. On the ground, Redskins rookie running back “Fat” Robert Kelley gashed the Packers defense for a career high 137 yards on 24 carries with 3 touchdowns.

The week before it was Peyton Manning, err Marcus Mariota, looking like an MVP against the Packers defense throwing for 295 yards with 4 touchdowns. It was Demarco Murray embarrassing them on the first play of the game, a 75-yard touchdown scamper.

Andrew Luck smoked them at Lambeau Field. Matt Ryan shredded them down in the Georgia Dome. Matt Stafford ran up and down the field on them in the second half of the Lions game, and Sam Bradford picked them apart in his first game with the Vikings.

The opponents and names change each week, but the results stay the same. It has become painfully clear that the Packers’ lack of talent on defense will hinder them from being a “highly successful” football team.

Deficiencies clearly exist on the offensive side of the ball as well, but the injuries to running back in addition to the spotty decision making of Aaron Rodgers are the main culprits. While I also could argue the importance of branching out more often in low-level free agency to prevent the running back debacle, I will not expand on that now. Overall there are some definite concerns offensively, but not nearly to the extent of the defense.

It could be argued that the Packers defense is just a victim of injuries, but this is an excuse. Every team battles injuries in the NFL, and it is not a true representation of the Packers’ personnel. If the Packers were completely healthy, they would still be a mediocre to low-tier defense and no closer to another Super Bowl title.

An area of strength a few seasons ago, cornerback has been torn down by injuries to Sam Shields, Damarious Randall, Quintin Rollins and Demetri Goodson. The truth, however, is that Shields was the only “sure thing” quality starter and it was widely understood that another concussion would put his career in jeopardy. Randall has shown some promise along with Gunter, but the rest of the group seem like projects.

Even Micah Hyde looked poor last week, he struggles when he’s lined up and covers like a corner instead of playing safety. On the first Redskins touchdown of the game, a 17-yard strike to Desean Jackson, Hyde looked like he had zero chance of keeping up with the speedy receiver. The Packers were running a single high safety (Clinton-Dix) and he immediately shaded to the opposite side of the field, putting Hyde on an island down the middle with Jackson. Cousins was seemingly trying to draw Clinton-Dix towards the Morgan Burnett and Jordan Reed matchup, leaving the favorable Jackson matchup wide open. This play is one example of the many each week that seem to always point the needle towards the opposition.

The lack of cornerback talent obviously plays a role in how the safeties look, but Burnett and Clinton-Dix haven’t come up with many big plays either with 3 interceptions between them. Many times, it is tough to tell if they made and incorrect read or if there are just too many holes across the cornerbacks. On the 44-yard bomb to Jamison Crowder, the middle of the field is wide open after Quintin Rollins gets burned deep. When looking more in depth, however, Clinton-Dix was helping over the top on the outside where DeSean Jackson had Micah Hyde beat deep again. It looked like a touchdown to either guy, just dependent on which receiver Clinton-Dix decided to help. Pierre Garcon’s 70-yard fleecing of Ladarius Gunter in the fourth quarter was referenced as missing safety help by some outlets, but it appeared the Packers were in quarters coverage. This is simply one guy beating another, not on the safeties.

At linebacker, the Packers are setup okay on the outside but clearly lack the depth on the inside. Starting the season with Jake Ryan, Blake Martinez and Joe Thomas was a scary proposition, and the group has had positives and negatives. Thomas is a major liability against the run. Robert Kelly’s 10-yard touchdown run went right up middle where Thomas was manned, though he was spun around and driven back about 5 yards allowing the easy score.

Long term it seems like the simplest fix would be moving Clay Matthews back inside and moving Jake Ryan into a backup role. It is hard to judge Matthews’ production objectively this season with him being injured for most of it, but his splash-play production will continue to drop as he gets older. I was optimistic, but thought it was a mistake moving him back to the outside at the beginning of the season.

It’s no secret that Julius Peppers has dropped off in production this season as well, but he was a good signing and has been effective producing big plays since inking with the Packers. Datone Jones’ move to outside linebacker has been nothing short of a failure and Kyler Fackrell hasn’t shown much early on. Nick Perry has been good this season, better as a pass rusher with Matthews on the field. Overall, this group hasn’t rushed the passer enough to be successful and reduce the pressure on the secondary.

The defensive line is Mike Daniels with top-level talent and the possibility of Kenny Clark turning into that type of player. Letroy Guion is a solid player, but the drop off seems dramatic after him. While the 3-4 typically relies on the outside pass rushers to get to the quarterback, the lack of effectiveness from that group spills onto the defensive front as well. Mike Daniels is the only defensive lineman that has a sack for the Packers this season, he has 2. In quick comparison, the Baltimore Ravens defensive line has 5 different guys posting a total of 10 sacks.

Across the defensive roster the Packers are lacking the high-level talent required for them to be more than a middle of the road team. They have missed on some high draft picks like Jerel Worthy and Datone Jones, and they have failed to fill weak spots in with experienced veterans as stop gaps until other players develop.

It would nice to see some veterans sprinkled in to the roster, other teams utilize low-tier free agents with success. Draft and develop is a great philosophy to abide by, but it doesn’t have to be the only way the Packers obtain players. New England, Seattle and Pittsburgh are all draft and develop teams that still utilize free agency at times. I think their level of success speaks for itself.

 

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Comments (46)

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KenEllis's picture

November 24, 2016 at 04:29 pm

Please do not question the greatness of TT. That is not permitted in Green Bay.

He will be the GM until he retires.

He won a Super Bowl in 2010 doncha know.

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Nick Perry's picture

November 25, 2016 at 06:40 am

I have NO idea why KenEllis is given thumbs down for his comment.

Sarcastic? Yup.

True? Hell Yes!!!

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Razer's picture

November 25, 2016 at 09:23 am

Nick - someone is going around giving automatic thumbs down to every post. It is their small mind thing.

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rdent's picture

November 25, 2016 at 01:51 pm

I noticed that too,some really good posts and someone is going down the line with dislikes,must wake up hating the world.

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stockholder's picture

November 24, 2016 at 05:05 pm

Why put Ryan and Jones on the Bench? Ryan had nothing to do with the last couple of loses. And Perry had 3 years to learn and your not giving Jones one. Martinez has not been calling the plays. Ryan has. The LBs are a revolving door. The 2010 team did not need elephants. This team never needed to play favorites like it does now. They think their better if they can put a guy in different positions. But I disagree THE JACK OF ALL TRADES philosophy. The NFL is all about speed and mis matches now. You move guys and they lose a step. (Their slow to diagnose) You play favorites and you get a L. You draft low, you don't get High end players. Seems if Jones can't make it at elephant. I'd move him back to DE. WE had Raji there for years so Pickett could play. Maybe thats why this DL has only 1 sack. Regardless this team is slow, hurt, broken, and do not lead the NFC North.

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rdent's picture

November 25, 2016 at 02:28 pm

Does any other DC have such a fixation with turning Defensive Ends into OLBers? How many has it been? Aaron Kampman ,Mike Neal,Datone Jones are the ones I can recall and it hasn't worked out well. Kampman was their best DE at the time until Capers tried to turn him into a LB,that was a total failure and yet year after year they keep trying it.

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stockholder's picture

November 25, 2016 at 03:12 pm

Your right. I'm surprised Perry is as good as he is. Wilkins got out of here before they tried it with him. My Feeling is Jones will too.

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Dzehren's picture

November 24, 2016 at 05:45 pm

TT's disdain of signing mid level free agents (1M-3M) has finally caught up with him.
# of TT's UDFA class grows every year-
Put the likes of Gunter, Dorliant, Evans, Brice, Hawkins Etc (can u believe they all play weekly??) on the practice squad & roll the dice. Sign some veteran secondary & Linebacker that also helps special teams.

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Nick Perry's picture

November 25, 2016 at 07:05 am

Hey don't worry help is on the way!! Dorliant is on his way to rescue the secondary!! He'll fit in nicely with Evans, Hawkins, Gunter and Brice this weekend. Gunter has shown flashes and Brice is a hitter but common on, who ARE these guys? Thompson has done it with the RB position, Safety position, TE position, ILB & OLB position. He ALWAYS tries to fill the spot with an UDFA from some obscure college instead of a Mid-Level FA. Hell I'd settle for a guy who can play.

TT let Hayward walk while playing that damn "Hope Game" again. I HOPE Rollins develops. I HOPE Randall develops and Gunter too. I HOPE Sam doesn't miss more than 4 games he averages since 2012. Rollins and Randall when on the field this year have been toasted so the 2nd year jump didn't happen. Hey, maybe it will happen in year 3 because trust and believe Ted is going to find out. Help is NOT on the way this Off Season.

Say what you want about Haywards tackling but he improved each year and was actually a pretty good tackler his last 2 seasons in GB. Besides, no one should ever complain about Haywards tackling. MM and DC teams have always been challenged in that area.

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pacman's picture

November 24, 2016 at 07:37 pm

Focus has been on scoring more points than opponents and until this last 1.5 years, it's generally worked even though defense has not been great. Capers bend but don't break attitude has kept them in the game even though it has been very frustrating to watch sometimes. But they just went from being 'not great' to being bad and there's almost nothing that he can do about it. Last week he tried to protect against the deep pass by blitzing and got crushed. Before that they played back and carved up. Defense has been ignored too long. Offense is mostly there but has also fallen off. Team has just generally declined. No new star has risen on Packers in years out of the avg draft picks. Enough fault to go around so no one person is the problem. Top management has to be held responsible.

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rdent's picture

November 25, 2016 at 02:08 pm

This team is in decline, if one would look at TT first six drafts he ended up with a fair amount of difference makers, then look at his last six drafts, too early to tell with recent picks but the only difference maker he got at this point is Mike Daniels.

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Since '61's picture

November 24, 2016 at 08:36 pm

Tyler - an accurate but sad assessment of the defense so far this season. Every level of the defense has been disappointing and our backups are getting worse instead of better with more playing time. I'm not sure that this defense would be much better even if healthy. Maybe they will show up against the Eagles and maybe not. Maybe they will find a way to make stops rather than give up easy TDs, maybe not. Even if they play hard they may just not be good enough to be competitive. Only time will tell if they can turn it around. Whatever happens the rest of this season it has become clear that this defense needs an infusion of actual NFL talent. Thanks, Since '61

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Spud Rapids's picture

November 25, 2016 at 09:00 am

Somewhat accurate. I think his indictment of the inside linebackers is unwarranted.

"Long term it seems like the simplest fix would be moving Clay Matthews back inside and moving Jake Ryan into a backup role."

Jake Ryan was leading the team in tackles before he got hurt. Thomas is very effective in coverage so I thought they had a nice rotation. The run defense has been solid up to recent weeks ( I believe they still rank 6th in the league). All in all a lot of young developing talent coming into their own then.... bam... injuries.

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lambeauleap's picture

November 25, 2016 at 09:36 am

AJ Hawk led the team in tackles in at least one season too. Leading the team in tackles doesn't always mean "good". Jake Ryan reminds me too much of AJ Hawk to be quite honest.

I do think we have some issues at LB. Someone else pointed out Matthews seems to be injured alot more when he's playing OLB then when he's playing primarily ILB. I know he prefers rushing the passer and there is nothing to say he can't do that on occasion but perhaps to get our money's worth from him he needs to move mainly inside. I'm not sure.

Injuries obviously don't help the situation but in order to help our nightmarish secondary our front 7 have to do more.

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Ferrari Driver's picture

November 26, 2016 at 12:33 pm

I agree that Ryan does remind me of A.J. Hawk; a decent average to slightly above average inside LB. He was a middle round pick, not a top 10 like Hawk.

Ryan is an average NFL starter; our problems lie elsewhere.

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zoellner25's picture

November 24, 2016 at 08:42 pm

And they keep moving guys around from what they played in college. Rarely works

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Razer's picture

November 25, 2016 at 07:13 am

Yeah, this has always bothered me. We spend a ton of time and touchdowns trying to get a guy to learn a new way and hope it works out. Maybe we are the Green Bay Packers retraining company.

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baldski's picture

November 24, 2016 at 09:04 pm

There was a sports writer for the Milwaukee Journal, I can't remember his name, who did not like football, so he was totally objective. He talked to a lot of scouts, personnel mgrs,, etc., and they would rate players by colors - blue, being highest, and then green, then yellow and so on. A great team would need a certain number of blue players- at least 5 as I recall. Going through our roster I see two- Rodgers & when he is healthy, Mathews. The number one picks that have been busts are too many. I think when you lose too many highly talented people from the front office like Schneider, McKenzie, etc,, it shows up later in your players.

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Razer's picture

November 25, 2016 at 07:24 am

This comment is the guts of the matter. We don't have many difference makers on this team and on the defense in particular. You cite Rodgers and Matthews. I'll leave it at Rodgers given Matthews lack of availability and production. Over the last 6 or 7 years we have drafted to rebuild this defense and I am still looking for a couple of guys who can pick the team up and make the difference. You might argue that Daniels is the only guy on the D-line who can be that guy, the rest are veteran minimum players. Datone Jones, Perry, Clinton Dix, Burnett and any of the ILB - not one who can lockdown a position and dominate the opponent.

Just look at Seattle's defense and count the difference makers. It is astounding how many downgrades are part of this Packers defense. At best we are average. Add injuries, we are not even competitive.

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Mebrooks5291's picture

November 25, 2016 at 04:16 am

4-12 They Stink

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Lphill's picture

November 25, 2016 at 07:04 am

It's amazing watching other teams defensive backs actually deflect passes and the Packers DB s seem to just allow a catch and then try to make the tackle, it really is disgusting.Bring in Al Harris to coach them next year.

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lambeauleap's picture

November 25, 2016 at 09:14 am

I think both sides of the ball lack superstar talent but the defensive side is even more striking because we've gone defense heavy in the draft the last several years.

At the beginning TT seemed to know how to draft some stars Clay Matthews, Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Nick Collins, and brought in Charles Woodson. Those players were how we stayed competitive for so long.

No one is expecting every draft selection to be top tier but Thompson absolutely refuses to consider free agency. Therefore he needs his draft selections need to be above average and hit on at least 4 out of the 7 with at least 1 true difference maker every year. The last probably 5 drafts have given us what exactly? A couple of solid players but far more mediocre players and busts.

I'm not sure if we've lost good scouts or if TT has lost his touch or what the true issue is beyond the lackluster drafts but this team is desperate for difference makers we don't have. Too many role fillers have left the Packers exposed. I blame Mike McCarthy for alot of the Packers issues but he cannot squeeze blood from stones.

If we are going to point fingers it's time to send Thompson out the door first.

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MarkinMadison's picture

November 25, 2016 at 09:24 am

1) CM3 seemed to have fewer (no) problems with his hamstring when he was playing ILB. Hamstrings have always been an issue for him. He has had three years in his career where he played all 16 games - '09 (rookie), '14 and '15. Two of those three he played significant time at ILB. In contrast, in '13 he played in only 11 games. This year he has played 6/10 - on pace for 10 games played - the lowest of his career. And we are not even talking about games where he has been on the injury report but played anyway. Usually, it's the hamstring. It may be that the pass rush moves required at OLB v. T put an extra strain on his hamstring. It may also be that he is going to be less and less able to sustain the strain load as he ages. OTOH he may be a stable Pro Bowl player at ILB for a few more years.

2) Look at where Pro Bowl players come from. Being drafted in the first round really matters, and presumably the Packers position in the first round really matters as well. Thompson can't control that factor. Being from a school in one of the five major conferences also matters - which runs directly counter to a frequent Thompson draft strategy - chasing the uncovered gem from a non-FBS school.

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000630054/article/college-and-draft...

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Tundraboy's picture

November 25, 2016 at 09:36 am

Your observation on Matthew turned a light on for me. OLB is more quick initial reaction, and immediate full burst. No wonder Mr Atlas and his tight hamstrings has had frequent injuries. I'LL less so. Makes a lot of sense. Only pulled one ONCE and that was the type of movement I did it with.

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MarkinMadison's picture

November 25, 2016 at 04:30 pm

I've had a few. Similar problem. Sudden, strong push. I can imagine what it feels like running into a wall of 300+ lbs. of human being. Bull rushing would be a huge strain. The sudden acceleration of a speed rush even, when combined with a sudden cut move, might be enough to do it on the wrong day.

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al bundy's picture

November 25, 2016 at 06:55 pm

I once heard a gb analyst say ted wont drzft de's n the low first, they cost too much. He would rather try and get a linbacker at that position in round two or three and save the money.

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Nick Perry's picture

November 26, 2016 at 08:22 am

@ Markin Madison

If you look at the 12 drafts TT has overseen, the first 6 were much better than the last 6. The SECOND Thompson lost Schneider his drafts went downhill. The same can be said when Dorsey and McKenzie left as well. The FACTS are, Thompson has drafted really poorly his last 6 drafts compared to his first 6 drafts.

Obviously losing 3 guys from your Front Office who became GM's themselves is huge, but the writing is right there on the wall. The last 6 drafts have failed to draft an impact player with the exception of Daniels.

The first 6...Matthews, Rodgers, Collins, Jennings, Nelson to name a few. It was also a well know fact Schneider was a HUGE reason the Packers signed Woodson and Pickett, he really pushed for them to be signed.

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MarkinMadison's picture

November 26, 2016 at 09:32 am

I agree that the brain-drain in the front office has been huge. No doubt that has had an impact. But it is also true that the last six drafts have all come after a playoff appearance, which means the draft position was lower. Seven straight matters.

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Razer's picture

November 25, 2016 at 09:28 am

... I'm not sure if we've lost good scouts or if TT has lost his touch or what the true issue is beyond the lackluster drafts but this team is desperate for difference makers we don't have...

We spend a disproportionate number of picks on western colleges. Our scout on the west coast is one hell of a salesman but we are not getting better because of it. Not sure what the rest of the scouts are doing.

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MarkinMadison's picture

November 25, 2016 at 04:25 pm

9We've also got three Iowa guys (Daniels, Bulaga and Hyde) by my count, and at least two starters picked in the first two rounds out of Alabama (Lacy and HaHa). Not saying you are wrong, just not sure you are right.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 25, 2016 at 09:29 am

“Fat” Robert Kelley gashed the Packers defense for a career high 137 yards on 24 carries with 3 touchdowns"

Growing up in the Nitschke era, I am especially disgusted with the Packers D being known now for so long as the Defense that turns just about anyone into a great player against us. Only Woodson in recent memory, and Reggie before, gave us a different rep.

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packerbackerjim's picture

November 25, 2016 at 09:42 am

TT, with an assist from MM and DC, have made calculations that player with smaller cap hits could do the job without an appreciable drop off,: Cullen Jenkins and Hayward. The axiom of
Letting someone go a year early is preferable has not always been accurate. The bottom line: player evaluation both draft and roster cut downs have exposed miscalculations. Combined with TT's !insistence he can catch lightning in a bottle as he did with Sam Shields, the Pack finds itself competing for the bottom of the NFC North despite gross incompetence in the division.

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jh9's picture

November 25, 2016 at 02:09 pm

Even though the Packers have given up a ton of points in these past few games, the overall defense currently ranks at 18. That isn’t good by any stretch of the imagination, but it isn’t a total disaster. As I see it, there are only two positions on the Packers defense that right now lack competitive talent--cornerback and inside linebacker.

As we know, the cornerback position this year has been decimated by injuries. Shields primarily, and Randall and Rollins' second year development have been put on hold because of injuries. I think it’s unfair to conclude that Randall and Rollins lack competitive talent at this point. I feel it’s only right we wait another year before we make any judgments.

The only real defensive non-competitive position I see is ILB. Both Ryan and Martinez are 4th round picks. Neither one was highly rated in college and neither has played enough at the NFL level to make a well informed decision about their competitiveness or their future. Both may or may not succeed.

With Matthews and Perry, we have OLB who are NFL worthy. On the DL, Daniels for sure while Guion can hold his own and Clark has shown flashes. I think we’ve all been disappointed in Datone Jones. At this point I think it’s clear to say that as a 1st round pick, he has been a bust. But as a whole the DL, OLB, and Safeties are okay.

No team in the NFL has defensive studs at every position. The Packers were not designed to be a shut down defense. It’s their offense that is supposed to lead the way. All the defense needs to do is hold the opponent to 22 points or less. I believe we have enough talent on this team to do that.

I think a valid argument can be made against the draft and develop philosophy in the age of CBA limited practices. Although draft and develop sounds good in theory, it may not be practical. The players and coaches just don’t have the tools or the time to develop players properly at the NFL level. It could be that we have entered into a new era where all the development happens in college and by the time they get to the NFL it is strictly plug-in and play.

It might very well be that the Packers have a old school defensive coaching staff and a outdated philosophy. I personally believe with the right coaching staff and an organization that can adapt to the times, the Packers defense does have enough competitive talent to compete for another Super Bowl in the next couple of years.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 26, 2016 at 03:36 pm

I think this is a sensible take. I quibble with the particulars but agree with the premise that we don't have to be great everywhere on D. The ILB starters seem to me to be good enough to win if the DL and OLB players are good. We do need another ILB who can play in case of injury. The safety position is fine, even if I thought Dix would be better than he has been. I thought Capers had found a role wherein Burnett could really shine, but due to injuries, he hasn't been able to use Burnett in that role. The DL is meh, with Daniels being a red plus, Guion NFL average, and Clark flashing. Most rookie DL (Clark and Lowry) need the first year just to develop. It would really help if Clark cleanly beat out Guion next year, moving Guion and Pennel (who as a RFA probably worth the middle $2.5M tender despite being maddeningly inconsistent) to back-ups or a rotational guys.

I wrote during the preseason that Shields, Randall and Rollins were fine, but the real linchpin was whether Gunter would develop enough to start at outside CB should one of the big three get hurt for multiple games. He didn't develop enough, and not one but all three of the big three got hurt, turning CB from a reasonably strong position into a weakness/gaping hole. Exacerbating the problem is that none of our safeties has coverage ability as a strong suit. I assume Shields is gone, at a cap savings of $9M. Randall and Rollins are just okay, but not #1 CBs. Either we buy a #1 CB FA with that $9M (OK, have to add some money to the $9M) or use our top or at worst our 2nd round pick on a CB.

At OLB, our two best OLBs are Perry and Peppers, with CM3 a distant third. I don't think CM3 is a plus player anymore. In truth, I'd cut CM3 and take the $11M in cap savings to replace him. I suppose we could ask CM3 to take a pay cut, but I doubt CM3 would take a big enough of a cut to satisfy me. I don't think Elliott has much going for him, but as a RFA, he's worth the lowest tender of about $1.7M, essentially due to the lack of talent in the pipeline. Jones is Peppers lite. He needs to show more to merit re-signing even at his current pay. I'd rather re-sign Peppers for $5M than Datone. Looking ahead to next year, I think the OLB position lacks talent outside of Perry, assuming he is re-signed; we can only hope that Fackrell can develop in his 2nd season into an above average player. OLB needs an infusion of talent. 1) Cut CM3 and buy an OLB; 2) re-sign Perry; 3) do either #1 or #2, and use a 1st or at lowest a 2nd round pick on an OLB.

Defensive grades: ( ) injured; [ ] upside
B+ Daniels
B Perry (Shields)
B- [(Randall)]
C+ Dix, Burnett, Peppers
C Guion, [Clark], Ryan
C- [Martinez], [(Rollins)]
D+ Jones, [Fackrell], Pennel
D Hyde, Thomas
INC - some promise: [Lowry, Brice],
INC - [Evans, Hawkins],

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jh9's picture

November 26, 2016 at 06:34 pm

I appreciate your thoughtful analysis. Who the hell gave you a dislike?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 27, 2016 at 05:46 am

No worries about the dislikes, JH9. There are a lot of player evaluations in my comment with which it is easy to disagree, and certainly can be argued over. Just advocating cutting CM3 can justify a dislike, or not being sufficiently supportive of some of the rookies.

I'm just happy to know some folks read my comment, particularly when it is posted at the end of the thread. I often think I've wasted my time writing a comment at the end of a thread on this site since there is no New Comment notice like Acme.

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jfajas's picture

November 25, 2016 at 09:57 am

I think it's a fair assessment.
I would argue thought, that removing 12 from the equation would further expose the lack of talent/speed/quality of our D.
I think we're probably looking at the worse D in the nfl.
Our last defensive drafts have filled the roster with mediocre players.

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jfajas's picture

November 25, 2016 at 11:40 am

Winning in the NFL usually requires either a great defense, a great quarterback, or in rare instances a combination of both, and the majority of successful teams have built their rosters through the draft. No team in the NFC North has both a great quarterback and a great defense, and for the most part, they've all been drafting pretty poorly.
For the Green Bay Packers, a team that has been to the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons, they had the best opportunity to take advantage of a championship window – the prime years of Aaron Rodgers – but they blew that chance with terrible drafting and talent evaluation from a front office led by general manager Ted Thompson. The Packers have insisted that they can build a consistent champion with almost no outside free agents, except that since 2010 they've drafted 60 players and produced just two Pro Bowlers: Eddie Lacy and Randall Cobb, both of whom got that honor just one time and have painfully regressed in the last two seasons.

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lou's picture

November 25, 2016 at 03:17 pm

Agree with the statement that Shield's was the only CB you could count on day one, the flashes shown by both Randall and Rollin's led most to believe they already were starter worthy, very easy thing to do by the fan base. The DB unit looked to be the one with the most depth on defense but injuries of this proportion eliminated that. The D-Line without Rajii has been competent, and although depth at outside LB also appeared OK, when you lose a Pro Bowl player like Mathew's and Pepper's finally becomes inconsistent because of the aging factor your pass rush really suffers, very easy to note that when Mathews plays Perry's pass rush improves (overall he has been the defenses best overall player this year - Daniels has had some bad moments that can't be overlooked. I agree that the BUST label fits Datone Jones, not only has his play always been inconsistent at both DE and LB but he does bone headed things on and off the field (suspension), Perry was inconsistent as a #1 pick his first couple of years but when healthy made big plays and he has no history of boneheaded plays. Dom Caper's has had a history of being an excellent coach on many levels but I don't know how he survives after his season if the defense does not become somewhat respectable from here on out.

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Duke Divine's picture

November 25, 2016 at 04:44 pm

Burnett is healthy. Dix is healthy. The front 7 is relatively healthy and as the corners get hurt the pass rush and safety play drops off a cliff. No excuses for that.

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Duke Divine's picture

November 25, 2016 at 04:42 pm

What happened to the pass rush? If I learned anything this year it's that Ha Ha and Burnett are grossly overrated. If they played up to the hype and the pass rush didn't completely disappear in the last month they could have helped the young CBs. Instead they folded like a cheap tent

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al bundy's picture

November 25, 2016 at 06:44 pm

Were all at best football observers. Here are my observations and they can be dead wrong but the one thing I got going is were losing due to defense.
1. Our corners ans safeties lack quickness, size, speed and cover skills are lacking. Capers must play zone because these guys cant do man they get eaten alive.
2. Jones and perry are not linbackers, lack upper strenght speed, tire easy, take plays off and go kissing in big loss games.
3. Our d line has 1 sack.
4. Mathews is wasting our time. He cant handle the punishment of the game. Cant make plays on the bench.
5. Ryan and martinez are tacklers, not pass rushers or cover guys. They lack serios mobility. If Ed would have wahced film on these guys he would have seen that.

This is the worst d in football and that ncludes cleveland.

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Dzehren's picture

November 25, 2016 at 11:14 pm

1- Not the worst D in the NFL- See the Bears
2- Way to many 3 & outs on offense putting stress on 5 UDFA rookies in secondary
3- Matthews obviously needs to play ILB to avoid injury- Martinez & Ryan Make a more than capable IILB rotation
4- Slow down Al- your selling to many ladies shoes.

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ray nichkee's picture

November 27, 2016 at 12:01 am

Who in the fuck is Ed? You spew 5% knowledge and 95% horseshit. I'll buy you a browns jersey if you either shut up or make some sense. That nasty foot smell from black polyester socks and chinese wingtips has fubared your brain.

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Dzehren's picture

November 29, 2016 at 08:34 pm

Hey Ray- do u mean Al Bundy? Guy is over the top and not a packer fan 4 sure

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pooch's picture

November 26, 2016 at 10:39 am

Dont forget Khiri Thorton,2014 2 3rd round picks the other gen was Richard "Fat" Rodgers That round was a waste of 2 high round picks...toal bust

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